During Maerina's discussion about Coq au Vin recently, hotoynoodle described the dish as Peasant Food. That comment caught my attention. It's a phrase I've used more and more over the years to describe the food I like to cook.
What I mean when I say it, is that there's nothing I like more than walking around my kitchen, glass of wine in hand, throwing stuff into a single pot, making simple recipes or 'Peasant Food'.
In reality a lot of famous recipes such as Cassoulet, Feijoada, Bouillabaisse, Stroganoff, Ratatouille, Goulash, Irish Stew or Scouse to name a few are traditional recipes or Peasant Food. And, though simple, these established and in some cases national dishes are famous because they taste great.
I found out recently my girlfriend loves a British peasant dish called 'Shepherds' Pie' when, surprisingly, she ordered it at a fancy restaurant on her birthday.
Not to be outdone, I cooked it for her this weekend.
Shepherds Pie à la ky.
Fry minced lamb, in batches, in a little very hot animal fat - beef dripping as it's called here. Remove the lamb and strain off any fat.
Add some butter to the pan then onions, carrots and celery all chopped. Throw in some fresh rosemary & thyme and a bit of cinnamon. Sweat down until becoming soft. Return the lamb, cooking for a few mins, then add tomato puree/paste, tomato ketchup & Worcestershire sauce. Mix everything and then slowly add some red wine allowing it cook off before adding another glug.
Add some flour, cook for two mins, and then pour in plenty of stock. I used fresh chicken with a good quality beef stock cube dissolved into it but whatever you have will work.
Cook down for an hour or longer topping up with water if it starts to dry out.
This stew is topped with a dryish mashed potato again topped with grated cheese - cheddar - and grilled or browned in the oven.
I made extra gravy/jus at the table for mine because it's the gravy that does it for my girlfriend.
Does anyone else have experience with such dishes?
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